Today we were bussed to Granada and spent the morning in the city. The Cathedral and the Royal Chapel where Eleanor and Alphomao are buried are Baroque in gold and very ornate. After lunch we went to the Alhambra and had a guided tour. The number of steps did for my knees!
The fountain in the Court of the Lions. No two lions are the same.
Tuesday, 30 October 2012
The central structure above is about ten foot tall and there were many such shapes about, some even taller. Lichen on the rocks and some flowering autumn crocuses growing wild in amongst the rocks which was very nice. We were taken up to th top of this massif in a bus - hair pin bends and all - from Anteqera where we are staying for a week. Then it was down the mountain where we got good views once we were below the cloud level.
We went round to a supermarket yesterday after eating lunch here - poor and very expensive. So today's lunch was cheese sandwiches made by us- good - and a Spanish mango which was marvellous.Dinner was okay-ish. Tomorrow we are going to try eating out in Granada although Dorothy is very dubious and thinks our cheese sandwiches will prove to be better. So it is my job/duty tomorrow to find a good place for lunch.
I should have said that we are with a conducted tour organised by Page and Moy. There are 32 people on it. It is the first such a tour I have ever been on outside the UK. I went on the Martin Randall tour in the Midlands earlier this year but that involved fewer people (11). The Page and Moy organisation seems rather better than Martin Randall. When they say ' we shall leave El Torcal at 1100', some how everyone is rounded up and on the bus and there is never any sense of pressure to swallow down the hot coffee.
Sunday, 28 October 2012
Yesterday I went through to Leamington Spa to spend the day with my daughter and her family - not Madi who is in Arizona. I must say she gets interesting school trips. The Grand Canyon and a dude ranch!! In the morning I went off to the Leamington Spa Art Gallery where there is an exhibition of art quilts 'Through Our Hands'. Even I recognise some of the internationally known names. And it was all stunning. I talked about an exhibition at Redditch by the Kemshalls where I was not impressed. They had works at L Spa and they were very impressive. As were Elizabeth Barton's art quilts of mediaeval buildings at twilight. The windows lit up were done with tiny squares of fabric ( 1 or 2 square cms) in all sorts of shades of yellow and orange with spots of red and brown. Alicia Merrett had maps of villages. Linda Kemshall had two portraits in her quilt and the quilting made up the contours of the faces.There were 10 quilters in all. Anyone who canget there should go. It is on till 13th January 2013.
In the afternoon, we all went to Compton Verney to see an exhibition of tapestries from teh Dovecot Studios. They ran from a pseudo-mediaeval The Lord of the Hunt to pieces done last year by way of a large piece by Paolozzi and and a 1950 one based on a design by Bawden called 'Farming'. The first Archie Brennan was for Aberdeen in 1964 and was innovative in its use of different yarn types to get texture. There was a very 3D one designed by my hero Bernat Klein which included knitting, crochet and whipping. My favourite was 'Overall' by Harold Cohen.
The local Guild had set up a tapestry loom and if you go on Tuesdays, Thursday or Sundays, you can have a go.
In teh evening, we went roudn to Kayal which is a good Indian restaurant and I had parathas and crab curry. All very pleasing and made a good end to a good day.
Friday, 26 October 2012
My grandchildren brought back two scrolls from China on which a scribe had written their names in Chinese calligraphy. There was a family discussion on how these should be framed and it was decided that I would mount them on nice paper and add a holder top and bottom. The children were offered a choice of anything from my paper stash. Madi chose an elegant Japanese chiyogami paper while Alex went for owls (not sure about this myself). Here they are completed and ready to go to them tomorrow.
Yesterday I had a good long session on No 2 Drafting session which is on twill. I think it is better. I have put it to one side for the next few days as I am away in Andalucia. I will mull it over while away. Another completed project is dealing with our glut of apples especially the windfalls. They are being turned into apple jelly as I write.
And I created a totally different draft to use up the rest of 'Texture' warp from last weekend. The warp is tied on again and I have woven the header and a few inches. It is NOT to shrink. I am using the same wool in the weft as is in the warp - which did not shrink. It is an ornamental stitched double cloth. I have always liked the stitched double cloth shown on Page 173 of Ursina Arn-Grischott's book on Double Weave. I have woven 90/2 silk in stitched double cloth because it allows you to get the detail of a pattern on a very small scale while being a robust cloth. But I have a sneaking feeling that sooner or later I will weave a wool length and make a reversible jacket. Rosie Price and I had a long discussion recently about how you would do the seams. She thought a French seam. I thought bind every edge and sew the bindings together. We decided I should consult with Gill Arnold before starting such a project.
And on the domestic front, one of Michael's instruments has been sold. And someone on Freecycle wanted a microfiche reader. So I dug mine out, checked it still worked and offered it. It was snapped up by one very happy man who was not expecting a dinky portable one.
Thursday, 25 October 2012
I finished off the wooden dowel to hold this up at the exhibition next week. It is at The Public in West Bromwich and is the Midlands Textile Forum's 'Festivals and Celebrations'. It is on from November 10th to February 3rd. This piece is in Diversified Plain Weave with the candle flames overpainted with gold. It is backed with thick ecru cotton and has a quilter's sleeve to hold the dowel rod.
And this is the finished 'Fireworks'. It is in DPW with gold paint, machine and hand embroidery. Backed with black cotton and with a quilter's sleeve.
The paper I used for the Verne endpapers was too thin and so I pasted it down to the textblock - forgetting that the endpapers had been printed on the inkjet printer. The result is the ruination of all endpapers - see photo - and the plain paper is badly stained. There will be nothing for it but to cut these pages off. I have remembered that I have a big roll of heavy duty cartridge paper and will cut some pieces bigger than A4 from it and print on those. I would rather use the inkjet than the laserjet as the colours are nicer - and you can print right up to the edge of the paper. Depressing - especially as I have made this mistake before!
Today I must start on the next session of the drafting course. It does not happen for some weeks but I had a long talk with Chris Wright at the weekend and she had a lot of very useful suggestions. So I must do as much as I can before going off to Spain next week.
Tuesday, 23 October 2012
The results of tumble drying the weekend's samples. From the top, stitched double cloth where the warp wool did not shrink but the weft did giving a stripey effect. The turquoise and dark green sample is in overshot and is very 3D which does not show up at all well in the photo. The lowest one is the shibori where the weft was polyester and that has crinkled up nicely. I am unsure what to do with the remaining stitched double weave warp on the Voyager. I don't want to do any more texture with it and might just weave it off with more of the non-shrinking yarn. I am taken with the idea of doing overshot. Stacey Harvey-Brown had a wonderful exmple of Blooming Leaf in white on white which I fancy.
Yesterday was mostly spent coping with an unforeseen problem with binding the Jules Verne books. The text block came from the States and so is in States-size paper and, when I printed out the endpapers, they did not fit. Fortunately I had some US size paper and managed to use that. It is not high class paper but will have to do. A bigger problem is the cover. I designed the cover as a complete wrap around and had intended to paste it onto book cloth but there would be a margin all the way round - even if I used my US paper - which is certainly not strong enough for a cover. So after a bit of thought, I printed out one cover onto JetFX paper and applied it by way of a hot iron to a large piece of cotton. When it had cooled, I painted a wide gold border all the way round. Today I need to paste this to paper and tomorrow I will make up the cover and see if it has worked. This took most of the day yesterday what with trying things out.
Monday, 22 October 2012
On Friday I went to a Bourneville class and helped to finish off everyone's book. I decided I would have to demonstrate the sewing up again and made an A4 book up for use as the next Bookbinding notebook. The first one has beach huts and boats on it so I selected a farm scene for this one. It looks nice although the fabric is not as flat as I would wish. I did do the same fabric earlier in the week and threw it out because of the wrinkles. This is still wrinkled. This has not happened to me before so I guess the fabric is a mixture of cotton and ---. If this book were not intended for me, I would start again with a different fabric. The weekend was spent at Wokefield Park Conference Centre weaving under Stacey Harvey-Brown watchful eye. We did Texture - methods of producing. Three methods were used shibori, overshot and stitched double weave. I have lots of photos but none of the finished fabric because the samples are currently in the tumble drier.
My Burmese friend, Soe Min, came over to the centre on Sunday and brought me another fabric elephant!! Because I had remarked in my blog that I could not turn the previous embroidered elephant into a cushion because it was too thick, he brought me a thin one back from a recent trip to Rangoon!! Here it is and it will be a cushion just as soon as I have the house tidied up.
And here is a close-up of teh pattern. There is a silver thread in there.
And on the way home I diverted to Didcot, met someone I did not know and transferred to her car a four foot stack of sheet music for viol consorts. I reckon that is about 20% of Michael's holdings of printed music. Now I must try and get rid of some more.
And now to sort out what I should be doing! It will not be gardening as it is raining again.
Friday, 19 October 2012
Yesterday a tree was taken out in the garden. Here is the tree felling in progress. What is not clear from this photo is that suddenly we have a view of the Malvern Hills from the house - and also we can see the lower half of the garden. This tree was a 'dwarf conifer' planted when we came into the house 29 years ago. It must have been all of 18 inches high. It had grown into a thick bushy large conifer - along with its neighbour which was removed last spring. I intend to plant a birch tree in their place. I can only imagine that the definition of 'dwarf conifer' is 'not a Western Hemlock'. We already have a monster conifer in the corner of the garden which is all of 60 ft high (probably more than 100 years old) and we planted a Picea Breweriana (Brewer's weeping spruce) 29 years which is coming along nicely - but is at the edge of the garden. But these things were in the middle of the garden! When the debris has been cleared away, I will post a photo of the new view.
Yesterday was spent getting ready for today - and the weekend at Wokefield Park. It is Kennet Valley Guild's residential weekend just south of Reading. Four high class tutors, the meeting rooms are spacious and well-lit, there is a heated indoor pool and in addition my Burmese friend is dropping by on Sunday and I am taking a four foot stack of Michael's viol music to a new home in Oxford. Mind you, I had to prepare for Bournville which has meant creating a new book all bar the stitching which is to be demonstrated this morning and because the cover fabric took two days to dry, I rose at 6am this morning to assemble the covers. That's all done.
RE my last post. I am still wondering if I should take a class in lino cutting from Lisa Hooper.
Thursday, 18 October 2012
I have had this book for about 30 years perhaps more and it is fantastic - but out of print. It was a paperback and disintegrated into sections of pages. It is too valuable to discard so I rebound it this week. I started by clamping the text block and slicing off the glue from the spine. Then saw cuts were made across the spine at one inch intervals deep enough to take two thicknesses of linen thread. The thread was then wound in and out all the cuts and the spine plastered with PVA. After that it was treated as a normal text block, mull, kraft paper, endpapers and then a cover of black bookcloth. The original cloth was untouched. It seems to be of cloth immersed in plastic - very like book cloth. I cut it up and glued it on to the now completed book. It is now a very solid hard back and good for another 30 years!!
There was the problem of what to do about the endpapers. I was searching through the paper stash looking for a paper with cupcakes on it (has to be a domestic paper) and came across a sheet of wrapping paper printed with chocolates. What better I thought and here it is.
Another good job done. I am also getting on with the Jules Verne. I had forgotten that I needed the endpapers for the two volumes before I could do anything more. So when I got back from the bookbinding class yesterday, I immediately set to on Photoshop. I had considered using Japanese chiyogami patterned paper but could not find one with fishes on. I did find (in the stash) a sheet of koi carp but that's a bit too tame for the contents of the book.
So here is a whirlpool. It will be across the whole endpaper.The edges will be trimmed somewhat as the book is not A5.
I went to Nature in Art yesterday evening under the impression I was going to a lecture by Lisa Hooper. It turned out to be a demonstration in a studio - which was very good. She showed us how she prints a woodcut of a sparrow - Japanese style woodcut. It used four different blocks, one for each colour. and she explained the technique very well. She is eclectic in that the pictures on show included lino-cuts, monoprints as well as the Japanese woodblocks. I particularly liked her lino-cuts and must go back to that technique. I thought about it all the way home!! Time!! Give me more time!!!
However I do have the Voyager all warped up and ready to go to Wokefield Park for the weekend.
Monday, 15 October 2012
I woke up this morning to a power cut which immediately filled me with alarm. I have reduced Michael's collection of computers from 17 to 5 (not counting the laptop) but the system is horrendous. Three of them are LInux and two are Windows and they are all linked together and have the names of Greek Gods (don't raise an eyebrow at me. It wasn't my idea) So we have Diana, Iris and Apollo as Linux and Vulcan and Bacchus as Windows machines. The problem arises from the fact that we have a comprehensive firewall and all internet traffic is through that and that is on Diana. So if I can't get Diana to work, then I have no internet. Even the laptop goes through that firewall.
Last year when I was reducing the number of computers, I wrote copious notes and the first thing I did this morning when the power came back on was to re-read the notes, then take a deep breathe and start each computer up one after the next - and they all worked, following my notes!! I am astonished and mightily relieved. Last year before I sorted all this out I was without internet for ten days while I found out how to do it.
You might ask why wasn't I following Michael's notes - because there were none. I had to have one of his Linux friends round last year to help me. As I showed him out the door, I remarked that it was a real pity that we could not find Michael's notes and he laughed at me and said, 'I worked with Michael for 15 years and he never made notes about anything. He carried it all in his head'. This of someone who ran a Government software group?
Anyway there was no gradual waking up this morning. I am wide awake and will now go and warp up the Voyager for next weekend. Although I think a bit more reduction in te enumber of computers would be a good thing.
Sunday, 14 October 2012
This is one of the three books in a Coptic Binding to which I have added a Coptic Headband. It is the stitching in gold silk thread at the top and bottom of the spine. All three look fine although not perfect. They are more secure than before.
Yesterday I taught the first class in 'Create your Own Drafts'. Not sure my explanations were clear enough. And even more unsure what to do about it. Fortunately we have the Guild residential weekend next weekend and I will have a word with the students and see what I can do to improve the presentation and help them. The next Drafting class is not for four weeks.
For some months, I have been bothered by the topic of fonts, particularly for text associated with books. I have bought lots of books and delved into websites and now I have got round to doing something and you can see the results on the left. I like Trajan - but it does not have any lower case. Forum which is very like Trajan does have lower case but, although it is very like Trajan, it is, on close inspection, poor. Caslon is a famous font and Garamond and Plantin are very like but Caslon is better. So the decision is to use Trajan for titles in Upper Case and Caslon for text. And all the fonts are now installed in Photoshop.
My son-in-law, Robin, has been busy framing pictures this weekend and complaining loudly about the way I store the mount board and the framing. So this morning we took all the mountboard upstairs and stored it flat, put new Spur shelves in the garage and shifted all framing out there. There was already some framing in the garage. We now have three times as much out there. I need to do some framing myself but must do the warp for Stacey's course first.
Saturday, 13 October 2012
For the last two days I have been at Lori Sauer's learning how to make a new kind of binding - the Pompidou. The white straps you see are of vellum (A first for me) and the boards are covered with a very nice handmade handmade paper from Holland. This is so nice that I managed to buy two sheets from Lori. Ialso discovered the names of several places around the UK where I can buy handmade paper.
Making the book was not easy and I had to take out some of the stitching and redo it. In a perfect world, I would spend next week making two more books of this type but that is not going to happen.
Here is another view. I can see all sorts of ways of doing the spine
At the beginning of the week, I finished threading the Megado and started sleying it. On Wednesday I went to bookbinding twice, morning and afternoon as I have missed two days being in Washington. I finished the headbands for three Coptic books and started on rescuing a paperback called 'How to Clean Everything'. Absolutely essential to my wellbeing. The spine has been redone. What you do is remove the glue on the spine - this was done by putting it in the guillotine and taking off about 0.5 mm!! Then you clamp it up, all squared upand then put saw cuts across the spine which have a depth of two thicknesses of linen thread. Linen thread is then wound in and out all the way up and down the spine. A good application of PVA and voila. it can be treated as a hardback. It should get completed next Wednesday. My son-in-law, Robin is here, framing pictures and complaining about the way I store the mountboard and theframing. So on Sunday we are going to tidy it all up..
A major urgent job for Monday is to warp up the Voyager ready for Stacey Harvey-Brown's course next weekend at Kennet Valley Guild's residential weekend. The other thing that happens on Monday is that I am visiting a furniture maker with a view to getting covers for Coptic books from him!!!
The other thing that is happening is that my son-in-law, Robin, is here
Sunday, 7 October 2012
Current status is looking better. I have caught up with a lot of paperwork. I have some more to do but I have adopted a habit of working on paperwork from first thing in the morning until elevenses and then stopping no matter where I have got to. It is very odd that I seem to have more paperwork without the business than I ever had with the business but I think that is due to two factors. Firstly Michael used to do a great deal of the paperwork while I concentrated on working on contract. Secondly I am still trying to clear up Michael's affairs and am about to try and sell some of his stuff on Ebay and Amazon. I am also trying to amalgamate the current five computers down to three. But progress is being made.
Yesterday (Saturday) I was at Kennet Valley Guild. This month's Challenge was Tetrahedra. I attempted to create a Diversified Plain Weave which would look like tetrahedra and I did not succeed. What was submitted was very very interesting (I don't have any photos which is a great pity). The items included - a folded book in tetrahedron shape, a piece of braiding on wire (I didn't understand how she had got there), a knitted scarf which somehow folded into three tetrahedra (!!) and a pile of tetrahedra bean bags which formed into a teddy bear. All I can say is that all the submitters must have advanced 3D perception. Staggering!
I also discussed with Rosie Price the use of a length of Takedai braid with a woven book I am making. We think it can be done - all I have to do is to weave the book!! It is next on the list after Michael's enamels on the Megado.
Last night and today I concentrated on two pieces of writing. It is that time of year when the CW Japanese Textile Study Group wants an input to its Newsletter and my contribution is on Hana-ori which is a weaving technique from Okinawa. It took quite a long time to write as I had to look up references, find the correct photos and get jpg files from the drafts. I have created two drafts which mimick the piece I own very well. I am waiting for the yarn to arrive from Sweden and then will weave a sample for each Study Group member. I am wondering if I should have a website so that such articles could be put on the web in one place. The background yarn is set at 40 epi and is 30/2 turmeric yellow cotton. The ground weft is three strands of the same cotton plus brightly coloured 10/2 cotton as pattern.
I have also written the first presentations for the four classes on drafting. I have not done this before and wonder how the class will take it. Back to Powerpoint. I used to do a lot of Powerpoint presentations when I ran the business and it has all come back to me. I have gone back to my old ways which is to finish the presentation completely and put it aside for several days. So come Wednesday I will spend a few hours going through it.
Tomorrow I will get back to threading up the Megado.
Friday, 5 October 2012
I have done a lot since October 1st including abandonning the attempt to do a triple weave in no time flat. I had got to the stage of having the Megado a third threaded when I realised that I had miscalculated the number of ends and would have to start again from scratch with the threading, taking out everything I had done so far. The warps and winding on are okay. It was 1030 pm on Sunday when I realised this so I decided it would have to be abandonned as an entry to teh MTF exhibition at West Bromwich. It will do for an exhibition next spring.
Since then I have been to my first class this session at bookbinding where I got to grips with headbands for Coptic bindings. I prepared three books over the summer and am doing them one after the other in the hopes I will a) get it right b) remember it. I have got it right or it looks fine to me. As to remembering it, maybe I have to make another three books in a week or two!!
Friday (today) I taught the Bournville class how to make a Japanese-style bound book using fabric they had created. Mostly okay but I have never done any teaching on this topic which was not a full day when I would aim - and succeed - in getting everyone to complete two books in 6 or 7 hours. This time I aimed to do one in 2 hours - and missed completely. Noone completed a book and we are going to have to finish them next time. I feel depressed about this but I don't see what I could have done except recognise it was not going to get finished. What with that and the Megado I feel that a little less optimism about timing might be a good idea!!
Last Friday, I stopped by Needle Forge Mill Museum on the way home from Bournville to see an exhibition by SIX and friends (aka the Kemshalls) which I am not enthusiastic about. It seems odd to say so but it was too representational. In the abstract, I have no objection to representational (what a horrible pun) but this included doing pictures based on Japanese woodblock prints by making a collage of the correctly patterned fabrics. And somehow it jarred. I did like some works featuring kites which were representational but -- - -. Oh well.
I spent last night at Leamington Spa minding the grand children while their parents attended a grand affair in Tate Modern!! This morning at breakfast Anne showed me some of her photos from China. They had 2 weeks there this summer. The above is from a series taken at an indigo factory! So I promptly acquired copies!
There was also this - which is a simple loom from the Han Dynasty (200AD). I assume it is a 21st century copy!! The blurb says they also had drawlooms at this time. It is a complciated version of a vertical loom. Note the lease rod so it could only weave tabby or tabby with pickup. Interesting!
Now I am off to think about the drafting class next Saturday. I have made lots of notes on this but need to prepare from now on.
Monday, 1 October 2012
I am preparing for an exhibition by Midlands Textile Forum at The Public, West Bromwich called 'Celebrations and Festivals'. It runs from 7th November 2012 to 3rd Februray 2013. This piece is 'Candles for Diwali' done on 32 shafts in Diversified Plain Weave. I then overpainted all the candle flames with gold textile paint - made from powder which is stirred into textile medium. It had to be lined (white cotton) and have a sleeve similar to a quilter's sleeve attached at the back. The gallery wants everything screwed down using mirror plates and I have a suitable length of wood which will be held in the sleeve.
This is the second DPW piece, 'Fireworks'. It has caused me some grief. The Catherine Wheels are okay, but the Roman Candles were not good and the woven rockets at the top just disappeared. So I overpainted three of the Roman Candles with gold paint and then machine stitched the two rockets at the top in white/red and gold. More gold paint and sequins finished them off. In the end the piece was quite effective. And I even like it. I was not too happy about the lining on the Candles piece, so I found some black fusible knitted lining in the box of linings and fused it to the entire back of the fabric. Then sewed the black cotton lining on. It is a much sturdier, tidier piece than the Candles and I am pleased with the way it has come out.
I have still to warp up the third piece on the Megado which is a triple weave. The cotton warps are wound and ready. I have to wind the silk on to the sectional beam and thread up and complete by Wednesday!
The teenage grand children were here over the weekend and then everyone came to lunch on Sunday so there was a lot of cooking and running about. Madi is doing a good job using a slide scanner I bought this summer. We are turning all the slide collection into jgp files to be shared round the family. There are even slides of my wedding which was 51 years ago in Edinburgh in December and it snowed. I reckon there are 3000 slides and she has done about 600. Chris planted up a section of garden where we have removed a large conifer and also helped clean up the garage - and take a car load to the tip. So things are looking up.
Michael's musical instruments are now listed on the web for sale. I have got rid of a lot of stuff, plastic recorders, music stands but still have to get rid of a lot more. I am thinking about taking a deep breathe and trying to sell some of the remaining musical stuff on Ebay. My son-in-law asked me if I had any removable drawers with hard drives installed. The answer was what sort would you like! There are lots!
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- I am weaver and - -. I dye my yarns with acid dyes, I paint my warps, put fabric collages and stencils on my weaving. I have three looms, a 12 inch wide, 12 shaft Meyer for demos and courses, a 30 inch Louet Kombo which is nominally portable but has a stand, two extra beams and a home-made device containing a fan reed. And last a 32 shaft Louet Megado which is computer controlled, has a sectional warp and a second warp beam and I am the proud owner of an AVL warping wheel which I love to bits and started by drilling holes in. I inserted a device for putting a cross in. I have just acquired an inkle loom and had a lesson from an expert so I can watch TV and weave at the same time. I am interested in weaving with silk mostly 60/2 although I do quite a bit with 90/2 silk. I also count myself as a bookbinder with a special interest in Coptic binding.